Attention-getters for middle schoolers?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by bison, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Jul 28, 2012

    I'll be teaching junior high/middle school aged kids (along with some younger ones) in a fun setting for the next few weeks. I've never worked with this age group before, so I'm not sure what comes across as too babyish for them. Any ideas for what to do when you need to get the attention of a busy/loud room? It's in the nature of the setting that the kids will be doing things noisily and independently and I'll need to round them up. I feel like the old "if you can hear me clap once" or rhythmic clap routines might be too young. Thoughts? Ideas?

    Thanks! :)
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Jul 28, 2012

    In that situation, the Class/ yes signal from Whole Brain Teaching worked wonderful!! I used it in the long run, but also used it as a sub, took 2 minutes to teach and caught on great.
    I haven't used it in high school, where I was, it would not have worked, but for your age group, I think it will be great.
     
  4. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Good idea! Since it's an actual procedure, I'll have to run it by the rest of my team, but I'm sure they'll go for it.
     
  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I learned about it when I was student teaching middle school. A lot of teachers used it, but not all. The good thing about it is that it will work, even if you're the only one who uses it.
     
  6. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I had decided during the first part of the summer that I would be using class/yes with my 6th graders this year. Now I'm rethinking. I want whatever my signal is to work in my classroom, but I also want it to work in other situations as well. When I'm trying to get the attention of the entire grade rather than my class of 30, I don't know if I want to depend on how loudly I can yell "class, class, class." I'm also not sure that I will always want them to respond verbally. If I'm trying to get my students quiet in the hallways, I don't really want them yelling "yes, yes, yes,." I suppose I could whisper the prompt, but then everyone doesn't hear.

    With all of these thoughts rolling around in my head, I started leaning toward give me five, but I worry that it's too young for 6th grade. I remember doing give me five when I was in 2nd grade. I don't want students to think it uncool and rebel against it. However, it seems so much more practical because it is audible and visual, and it seems to lend itself better to use with larger groups of students at any location. If students can't hear me, they can still see me (and everyone else). I suppose to mature it a bit, I could say something other than give me five, but I love the concept of give me five= stop and look at me. I think it's great that students can associate the procedure with what they should be doing.

    I'm really very torn :confused:
     
  7. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    You don't have to yell it, you can just say it. The whole thing is effective because all the students are 'conditioned' to respond when they hear it. So you can have a very loud classroom of 30, and you can just say "Class" and the ones near you will hear and repeat, and every one else will, too.

    this happened once and that's what convinced me of its effectiveness. I was student teaching newcomers, the loudest groups of students i have ever met (not just one class, but 5-6 classes of newcomers). It was right before Christmas break and the had a class party. So we had about 40 some students in one class, and they were pretty loud, because they were all excited and were talking. We had 2 of their teachers there and could not quiet them down. I have used the class/yes with 1 of the classes, and I think of their other teacher may have done it as well.
    I just said quietly "class?", and then i had 40 students turning towards me, saying "yes?" and then complete silence. Less then half of them heard me, but the other half heard the response and joined in. I don't know how, it was only one word, but it happened.
    It works :)

    But you're right, it won't work with other classes if they're not introduced to it.
     
  8. momto5boys

    momto5boys Rookie

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    My son's middle school still uses give me five, but I have seen the class/yes method work in middle school as well. Just because you use class/yes in one situation doesn't mean you have to use only class/yes. I used a combination of class/yes, counting down, and give me five when I was student teaching. Class/yes does not have to be yelled in a loud situation. Simply say class once in a slightly louder than normal tone when you have the attention of one or two students. They will respond, and then you do it once more and they are all with you. I have never had to use it more than twice. In hallways, I simply stopped moving if they got too loud and stood silently until they became quiet. If necessary, I would silently walk to where the noisiest students were and focus my silent stare on them. That was usually enough to do the trick.
     
  9. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    How does your son feel about it? Does he think it's still appropriate for kids his age? Middle schoolers are super touchy about being treated like little kids, and I don't want to offend any of them. I just really like the easy explanation and reminder of stop and look at me.
     
  10. perplexed

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    Over the last 6 years, I have tried a whole bunch of things, but the only one I love is the class/yes one. It works with even my most challenging groups.
     
  11. uscsoccer

    uscsoccer Rookie

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    Hmm, I'm trying to figure this out, too, and I like the class/yes idea. Do y'all think that it would work with 8th grade, or just the younger MS kids?
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't like demanding attention IMMEDIATELY, so I use something else...but during student teaching I had my class choose a two word phrase. When I said the first word they said the second and then I had the floor. They choose "chicken wing". Worked beautifully.
     
  13. Dynamite Boys

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    I just use "clap once, clap twice" with my 6th graders. It's worked effectively for many years and is simple! I haven't heard any of them complain about it . . .
     
  14. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I use class/yes with my high school seniors. It works just fine (though they get tired of hearing it by the end of the year).
     
  15. Avalon

    Avalon Rookie

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    When the volume goes up, I walk to the center of the room (desks are in a U-shape), clasp my hands together, and stand there. Silence in 30 seconds.

    I use a musical instrument (rain stick) to signal transitions, like from pair-share to whole group.

    If a student speaks or loses focus while I am speaking, I stop (in the middle of a sentence), look at the student, and wait silently until the class is 100% focused.

    Silence can be extremely powerful. And it allows an immediate transition back to the content when it has achieved its purpose.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Class/Yes is very effective and students will pick up on it very quickly. As Linguist said, less than 5 minutes should be all you need.

    One middle school I subbed for did use rythmic clapping. All 3 grades recognized and responded to the cue immediately. So, no, they aren't too old for that.
     
  17. bison

    bison Habitué

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    We've been doing rythmic clapping because my team wasn't interested in class/yes. It works for the most part, but the kids were definitely feeling too cool for it at first. I'm switching to younger kids now, so I'll likely just continue with clapping.

    Avalon, I totally agree that silence works in the classroom during the school year, but this is an environment when they're supposed to be noisy and active and working independently. I'm also always walking around. They wouldn't notice me standing there unless they happened to look up, so I needed something auditory. :)
     
  18. PowerTeacher

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    It is too bad your team was not interested in Class-Yes! It has an infinite number of variations, and works much better with older learners than clapping. You can use the same context and substitute a different phrase, perhaps one based on your school mascot.
     
  19. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    I use a mix of class/yes, give me five, just putting my hand up and silently lowering one finger at a time, and the clap if you can hear me. Another 8th grade teacher always uses the clap one. School-wide, the kids respond to the give me five or the hand in the air with the five fingers extended and then dropped one by one.
     
  20. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    8th graders are just bigger kids who want to be treated as young adults but who are still kids who like many of the perks, if you will, of the younger grades such as stickers, stamps, etc. That wanes some by the end of the year but is very strong at the beginning.
     
  21. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    I saw a blogger post the other day (idk which blog) in which the teacher's attention grabber was:
    Teacher: Alright stop!
    Students: Collaborate and listen.
    I loved it! She said the class didn't get why she found it humorous.:lol:
     
  22. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Oh my goodness, I LOVE that!!! I'm going to have to store that one away in the "Things to Try When I'm a Little More Experienced" file!
     
  23. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Ha! Love that too.
     
  24. uscsoccer

    uscsoccer Rookie

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    These are some really good ideas, everyone- thanks!
     

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